Pas­sion in the pubs but it’s not matched on the pitch

The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - The fan's view - by NICK REINIS

DIS­AP­POINT­ING and ter­ri­ble were the two words be­ing used by dis­traught city foot­ball fans as Eng­land crashed out of the World Cup.

A heavy 4-1 de­feat by the Three Lions’ bit­ter ri­vals Ger­many in yes­ter­day’s sec­ond round tie con­demned Peter­bor­ough foot­ball fol­low­ers to an­other World Cup heartache.

It is now 44 years since Eng­land last won a ma­jor foot­ball tro­phy, when they lifted the World Cup on home soil in 1966.

But it was not the score­line which up­set the thou­sands of city foot­ball lovers, it was the na­ture of the per­for­mance as Eng­land lacked the courage and the tal­ent to progress.

Devon Mur­ray (22), from Hampton, who watched the game at the Sports Lounge, in King Street, with around 500 hun­dred other fans, said: “I’m re­ally dis­ap­pointed.

“I ex­pect more from Eng­land. But the at­mos­phere in here was amaz­ing through­out the match.”

How­ever, An­drew Cook (30), of Stan­ground, said: “I knew it was com­ing. It was ob­vi­ous from the group stages that we were not good enough to go past this stage in the tour­na­ment.”

While, Steven Slack (22), of Or­ton Water­ville, at least lined his pock­ets fol­low­ing the match – hav­ing bet on the Ger­mans to win.

He said: “I thought the de­fence just wasn’t strong enough. But I bet against my own team be­cause I know at the end of the day that I want to win money, over foot­ball!”

Steven also be­lieved the omens for an Eng­land vic­tory were bad when the big screen at the venue broke down prior to kick-off.

The generator which pow­ered the gi­ant 5m by 4m LCD screen cut out 45 min­utes be­fore the big match got un­der­way.

How­ever, with help from man­age­ment at the Queens­gate cen­tre which al­lowed the venue to use its elec­tric­ity sup­ply, the screen was re­stored with min­utes to spare.

Steven added: “When I saw the screen wasn’t work­ing, then I knew it was a bad omen from the start.”

Co-owner of the Sports Lounge, Simon Baker, paid trib­ute to the hun­dreds of pun­ters who stuck around to watch the screen spring into ac- tion at 2.55pm.

He said: “A mas­sive thank you to ev­ery­one for stay­ing pa­tient and also to Queens­gate for let­ting us use their elec­tric­ity sup­ply.”

How­ever, af­ter the game, which was the venue’s last World Cup party, he added: “I’m gut­ted. I feel sorry for the pun­ters about Eng­land los­ing be­cause I wanted to take these events all the way to the fi­nal.”

Heart Peter­bor­ough ra­dio pre­sen­ter and ET colum­nist Kev Lawrence, who com­pered the event at the Sports Lounge, said: “It’s an ab­so­lutely ter­ri­ble re­sult.

“But I look to the pos­i­tives and I’m so proud that Peter­bor­ough could put on a fan­tas­tic event, with loads of fun for peo­ple to come out and watch the game

“It’s just a shame that the Eng­land team’s ef­forts couldn’t match the ef­forts of all the peo­ple who worked re­ally hard to put this, and the pre­vi­ous events, on.”

How­ever, the mood at the end of the match could not have been more dif­fer­ent to the one in the mo­ments prior to kick-off.

As around 750 peo­ple at Char­ters, near Town Bridge, sang their hearts out for the na­tional an­them, hopes were brew­ing for an Eng­land vic- tory. Chris Blow­ers (43), of Wel­land Road, Peter­bor­ough, took his step­daugh­ter Jes­sica Hard­ing (13), to the river­side venue.

He said: “Eng­land have been poor up un­til last Wed­nes­day, when we played Slove­nia, and we look like a team who should get the re­sult to­day if we play like that.

“It’s re­ally good at Char­ters, re­ally nice with a friendly at­mos­phere and great sup­port for Eng­land.”

As the game got un­der­way, the vast crowd at the venue cheered and shouted with al­most ev­ery kick of the ball as the Three Lions tried to snatch the early ad­van­tage.

How­ever, their op­ti­mism was soon turned into despair as striker Miroslav Klose put the Ger­mans ahead in the 20th minute.

Just 12 min­utes later it was even worse as Klose’s strike part­ner Lukas Podol­ski made it 2-0 – to the dis­may of the Char­ters crowd.

As the first-half moved on, Eng­land grew in con­fi­dence and so did the crowds of peo­ple who packed ev­ery avail­able spot in­side The Sol­stice, in North­min­ster.

In the 37th minute they got what they were cheer­ing for when Eng­land de­fender Matthew Up­son cut the deficit to 2-1.

His goal caused the at­mos­phere to reach fever pitch in­side the venue as the Three Lions faith­ful erupted into joy­ous cel­e­bra­tion.

Just mo­ments later, the masses were out of their seats once more when Frank Lam­pard’s long-range ef­fort crashed off the un­der­side of the bar and seem­ingly over the line.

How­ever, they were left shocked and in dis­be­lief as the as­sis­tant ref­eree ruled that the ball had not crossed the line.

Nev­er­the­less, at half-time, the fans at The Sol­stice were op­ti­mistic.

Rob La­mont (37), from Bret­ton, Peter­bor­ough, said then: “The at­mos­phere is elec­tric. I’ve got ev­ery con­fi­dence that we will still win.”

But af­ter an edgy start to the sec­ond half, which left many fans at the Sports Lounge bit­ing their fin­ger­nails, dis­as­ter struck.

A quick-fire dou­ble from Thomas Muller made it 4-1 to the Ger­mans, ended Eng­land’s hopes of lift­ing the fa­mous tro­phy.

Thou­sands of fans left the city cen­tre venues won­der­ing what might have been.

Po­lice in­spec­tor Kate Scott had the last word when she said: “It has been a quiet af­ter­noon for po­lice in Peter­bor­ough.”

OP­TI­MISM: Hun­dreds of fans packed into the Sports Lounge King Street. (METP-27-06-10RH548)

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